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On December 28, while visiting her grandparents in Phoenix, Arizona, 19-month old Joy Loboda was found floating face down in a swimming pool. She had wandered off from her siblings and somehow squeezed herself past the pool’s security gate. Her father, filled with a sense of dread as he raced around searching for her, found Joy stiff and cold in the water and began CPR. By the time Joy arrived at the hospital her heart not been beating for at least 25 minutes.
In the emergency room, the doctors offered little hope, but Joy had a pulse again so she was put in a medically-induced coma to increase her odds of survival. The first 24-48 hours would be critical.
The promise of prayers poured in and Kristin’s brother, Fr. Ignatius Mazanowski, F.H.S., began saying Mass at Joy’s bedside regularly. He told Catholics News Agency that “One Mass in particular, on the Feast of the Holy Family, became the means through which my sister Kristin’s heart found healing as I led her through self-forgiveness prayers. As any parents would, she was blaming and condemning herself for Joy’s accident. They lost Joy for three minutes, and Joseph and Mary lost Jesus for three days. Self-forgiveness in such a situation is so important. I believe my sister’s healing is tied to Joy’s healing, and for sure, it helped Kristin to be in a better place to help Joy heal.”
Matt and Kirstin Loboda believe all of the prayers that have been offered for Joy and for them have made the difference. In less than two weeks after the accident, Joy was responsive and breathing on her own. She is now in full-time rehab, able to sit up on her own, feed herself, smile, laugh, and recognize and call to family members. First responders came to the hospital to visit Joy recently and the Lobodas were able to personally thank them. Everyone is astounded that Joy is alive and thriving.
“The nurse told me that drowning victims — either they don’t make it or they don’t walk out of (the hospital). They have severe damage,” Matt Loboda told 12News in Phoenix who covered the story. “There’s nothing that indicates to us that she has any damage whatsoever. And I really give thanks to God for that.”
Joy is expected to continue her recovery and a donation page has been set up to help the family pay for medical expenses.
In a recent entry on her Facebook page, Kristin wrote, “Doctor after doctor and nurse after nurse confirm that this type of turnaround is something that can’t be explained. To God be the glory.”